Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival Safety Reminders & Road Closures

SARASOTA, FL  – June 21, 2018   – 8 a.m.

The Sarasota Police Department wants you to enjoy the Fourth of July holiday safely and always, if you SEE something, SAY something. Report any suspicious activity or behavior to law enforcement immediately. The annual Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival June 23 – July 4, 2018 will attract thousands of people to the City of Sarasota and is a large part of the Fourth of July festivities. The Sarasota Police Department is committed to keeping our residents and visitors safe.

Boating Safety Reminders
The Sarasota Police Department Marine Patrol created a public service announcement leading up to the Fourth of July holiday highlighting important safety tips for boating. The video includes the proper safety equipment and gear boaters should have on their vessel along with the importance of not drinking and boating. The video can be seen at

Lido Beach Holiday Hours
The Sarasota County Sea Turtle Protection Ordinance requires that all beach furniture and equipment be removed from the beach nightly, until sunrise the following morning. Also, pursuant to amended Sarasota City Code Sec. 22-4, Lido Key public beaches will be closed to beachgoers from 11 p.m. until sunrise. This means that Lido Key beach will be closed to all beachgoers, race spectators and beach equipment until sunrise, which is approximately 6:30 a.m., during Grand Prix Festival events. The Sarasota Police Department will be strictly enforcing these closure times to protect the safety of all beachgoers, including the sea turtle kind.  Due to beach erosion, spectators are being asked to stay off the sand dunes along Lido Beach.

Unattended Personal Property & Sea Turtle Protection
In addition to expanded marine, foot and vehicle patrols, the Sarasota Police Department will be protecting public safety during the Sarasota Grand Prix Festival by posting signs prohibiting beachgoers from storing and leaving unattended personal property on Lido Beach, pursuant to Sarasota City Code Sec. 21-44. This is for the protection of all beachgoers and their belongings, to help ensure a safe and orderly race and beach-going experience. Also, beach furniture and other beach equipment, toys or trash left on the beach overnight during sea turtle nesting season can pose a serious entanglement hazard and obstacle for sea turtles and their hatchlings.  Beachgoers should stay away from sea turtle nests marked with yellow stakes and tape and seabird nesting zones that are bounded by ropes.

The Sarasota County Sea Turtle Protection Ordinance requires any “temporary structures, including but not limited to beach chairs, umbrellas and cabanas which have the potential for entrapment of marine turtles and which may interfere with the use of the natural beach environment for nesting habitat, be removed from the beach nightly, from sunset to sunrise.” Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, the Sarasota Police Department, Sarasota County Parks Department and the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix are partnering to protect endangered sea turtles and ask for your help in making this a safe event for all.

Race Day Information
Any race stoppage will be announced on VHF Channel 16.  Boaters can also tune into the live stream at AquaX Races at  or PowerBoat Races at  The races will also be broadcasted on radio station 105.9 (The BUZZ).

Plan Ahead: Have a Designated Driver
AAA Tow To Go:  AAA Tow to Go Program will be offered again to make sure those who are celebrating the holiday get home safely. The free, confidential, local ride is within a 10-mile radius to a safe location. This is offered Tuesday, July 3rd until 6 a.m. on July 5th in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee. Call 1-855-TOW-2-GO (1-855-286-9246) or visit

Road Closures / Parking
Vehicles not removed by the posted time will be towed at the owner’s expense. For information on towed vehicles, please call Upman’s Towing at 941-364-7084

·         Van Wezel Parking Lots / Van Wezel Way from East End to 10th Street – Closed from 6 p.m. Thursday, June 28, 2018 until 6 p.m. Sunday, July 1, 2018  

·         South Lido Overflow Parking Lot 10 p.m. Saturday, June 30, 2018 until 5 p.m. Sunday, July 1, 2018

Due to limited parking spaces, it’s highly recommended to carpool to weekend events.  Illegally parked vehicles are subject to ticketing.  Vehicles blocking private driveways are subject to towing.  Anticipate long delays from the beach area at the conclusion of the races.  Expect an exit time in excess of one hour when leaving the beach viewing area.

Centennial Park / Boat Ramp Closures
11:59 p.m. Thursday, June 28, 2018 until 6 p.m. on Sunday, July 1, 2018.

This area will be utilized as the staging area for the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival.  There will be no boat ramp access during this time.  A suggested alternative boat ramp is located in Ken Thompson Park next to Mote Marine Laboratory on City Island.

New Pass Closure
New Pass will be closed over the weekend: Saturday, June 30, 2018 and Sunday, July 1, 2018 from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.  The pass will be closed west of the New Pass Bridge.  Boaters will be able to access the cove. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2018 – Fireworks & Road Closures/Limited Parking

·         Bayfront Drive (US 41), from Gulfstream Avenue to Orange Avenue will close at 7:00 p.m. and will remain closed until approximately 11:00 p.m.

·         Parking Lot at Bayfront Park/ Island Park will be closed when the parking lot has reached maximum capacity.  No parking will be permitted on the grass area south end of Bayfront.

·         Palm Avenue Garage & State Street Garage – Additional parking will be available at both of these parking garages.  Expect delays when exiting due to heavy traffic.

·         Free Shuttles iRide is offering free shuttle rides to and from the State Street parking garage and Palm Avenue parking garage to the VanWezel parking lot during the Boats by the Bay and Fan Festival (June 29-July 1)

NOTE: Vehicle Traffic leaving the Bayfront/ Downtown area following the July 4th Fireworks on Wednesday, July 4, 2018 will be subject to certain restricted traffic control measures as part of a comprehensive exit plan. Expect long traffic delays of up to one hour upon exit from the event area.

The Sarasota Police Department is encouraging race spectators to leave their pets at home for the Fourth of July and the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix festivities. During past events, several animals were lost because they were spooked during the events.

For additional information about the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix, visit